Maryland Volunteers Worried Over Ambulance Fee Retaliation

Volunteer departments see cuts to services after opposing council fee.


 
 

RACHEL BAYE, The Examiner | | Monday, May 14, 2012


Volunteer firefighters are worried about retaliation as they gear up for a second fight over a proposed ambulance fee.

After the Montgomery County Council passed an ambulance fee in 2008, the volunteer firefighters were active in getting it on the November 2010 ballot. Now, some recall retaliation from County Executive Ike Leggett after they successfully overturned the bill in 2010.

The first time around were the budget cuts, the taking away of [the 19 volunteer departments 19] administrative officers, said Grant Davies, treasurer of the Bethesda Fire Department.

The Kensington Volunteer Fire Department, Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department, Hyattstown Volunteer Fire Department and Bethesda Fire Department sued the county in U.S. District Court last year over the administrator layoffs. The case is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The firing was intended to punish the [volunteer departments], for, having advocated against an electoral referendum question on ambulance fee legislation previously sponsored by the county executive and enacted by the council, the complaint reads. The retaliation had been threatened by the county executive in the weeks leading up to the election.

Leggett also slashed overtime spending at the Kensington and Wheaton departments, said Kensington Volunteer Fire Chief James Stanton. Without the overtime that was lost, the career firefighters staff the station only from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the volunteers have to fill in the rest. But the volunteers try to work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. so they can keep their full-time jobs.

Stanton said he cant prove that the cuts were retaliatory, but I would likely feel that thats whats happening.

And there are also the general budget cuts the volunteer firefighters have felt in the last two years, said Tom Ryan, a longtime volunteer at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. He threatened at theof the last fight for ambulance fees that he would have to decrease public safety service ... closing down firehouses.

Leggetts office denies that any cutbacks were made as an act of retaliation.

Whatever moves that we made in that direction have been moves to deliver services more efficiently, said Leggett spokesman Patrick Lacefield. We still have a lot of funding for volunteer activities in the county budget.

The volunteers say they are not deterred from fighting the ambulance fee a second time.

If anything, Id probably push harder, Ryan said. Id probably make sure that the council members that vote for it arent re-elected.

The new bill is similar to the one passed four years ago, said Councilman Phil Andrews, D-Gaithersburg/Rockville. It authorizes the county to seek reimbursement from residents insurance companies for the costs of operating ambulances.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, volunteer EMS

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Medics Ditch Pants for Kilts

“Real men do wear kilts.”
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC September 11 Commemoration

Tolling of the bell begins the anniversary ceremony.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wrong Fuel Cited in New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

Plane received jet fuel instead of aviation fuel.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wake County EMS PAT

Physical ability test demonstration.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

CO Leak at Illinois School

Girard incident sends over 130 to hospitals.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On September 2014

Who gets thumbs up this month?
More >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC Sept. 11 Anniversary

View images from the ceremony at Ground Zero.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >